Who doesn’t love an estate car ? With SUV load space & a lower to-the-road driving position, estate’s offer the best of both worlds. Practicality, but in package that’s fun to drive, which despite their popularity, does not apply to many SUV’s out there. AS I write, times are good for these load luggers, with the class reading Skoda Superb recently revamped & the Volvo V60, proving that estate cars can be stylish as well as practical. Step forward then the Peugeot 508 SW, an estate version of the very excellent 508 Fastback, which like the Volvo, offers customers a striking looking estate, that’s useful for families too.
Let’s start with the model range. There are five trims offered across the range. Base model Active costs from £26,845 & comes with 17″ alloys, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a multifunction steering wheel, automatic headlights, a DAB radio & a choice of either an 8″ or 10″ infotainment system with both Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.
Allure models start at £28,145 & add active suspension, blind spot detection, keyless entry and go, electrically adjustable front seats and a 180-degree reversing camera.
The GT Line model is next & is priced from £29,895. GT Line is further enhanced with self-levelling LED headlights, fresh rear lights & customisable ambient lighting. The range topper, is the 508 SW GT, which is priced from £38,020 & this model take’s the goodies much further, with 19″ alloy wheels, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, leather upholstery & a FOCAL premium stereo system al fitted.
Peugeot has also released a launch edition variant of the 508 SW, based on the GT trim level, with prices starting from £40,819. This offers a choice of two unique metallic paint colours for the money, a unique set of 19″ diamond-cut alloy wheels, a gloss black grille surround & automated parking assistance. In the cabin, you’l find blue mood lighting, a black roof lining, a 360-degree camera, a wireless smartphone charger, carbon fibre-style trim and Nappa leather upholstery in either black or red. The boot also gains a Zebrano wood-finished floor with grip bars, while the digital gauge cluster is fitted with an infra-red night-vision system, featured on 508 Fastback.
The range is offered with six engine choices. There are two petrol variants; a 1.6 PureTech 180 S&S 8-speed auto & a more powerful 225 version, the S&S 8-speed auto, available only on GT & First Edition models.
Sales wise, Peugeot expects 70% of customers to opt for one of the diesel variants, which include a 1.5 BlueHDi 130 S&S 6-speed manual & this is also offered as an 8-speed auto. There are two more choices. A 2.0 litre 160 S&S 8-speed auto & for GT Line & First Edition models only, a 2.0 litre 180 S&S 8-speed auto. Importantly for customers, a plug-in hybrid variant with an all-electric range of 32 miles will arrive by the end of the 2019.
The 508 SW is a really attractive car, especially the rear hatch with sweeping wrap-around lights that merge in the centre into the Peugeot Lion. The profile reminds me somewhat of the 508 RXH, Peugeot’s previous hybrid estate. From the front though, the new Peugeot continues the 508 Fastback look with the chrome plated radiator grille & vertical lights giving the car a real presence.
Estate cars are designed for customers who requirespace. How does the 508 perform in this respect ? The 508 SW’s 530-litre boot offers just 9 litres less than you’ll find in the Volvo V60. However, the clever use of ‘Magic Flat’ seats, which fold flush at the flick of a switch, create a respectable 1,780 litres of space, identical to the VW Passat & 339 more than the V60, whose rear seats don’t fold flat. The SW also comes with a wide tailgate, allowing for easier access & it’s longish wheelbase allows for larger items to fit, such as a mountain bike including the wheels.
The SW does forsake some boot space, for sleek lines & the sloping roof would appear to reduce rear headroom. However, this is not actually the case, with good head & legroom in the rear for passengers sat behind the driver & front passenger. Up front too, driver & front seat passenger also get plenty of room to stretch out.
From a quality perspective, this latest Peugeot is particularly well put together, with plenty of thought given by the designers in creating both a stylish design & finish. The familiar i-Cockpit dashboard layout from the 3008 & 5008 has been adapted to the SW, offering an almost wraparound drivers seat between door & centre binnacle. The small steering wheel is also there, plus a large 8″ wide HD capacitive touch-screen in 8:3 forma & a head-up display unit with a high-resolution 12.3″ digital screen. Soft touch plastics are everywhere & the optional red Nappa leather, a snip at £1850, were sumptuous.
We tested what is likely to be the best seller in fleet engine wise, the BlueHDi 130 EAT8 S&S 8-Speed Automatic in Pearlescent White, fitted out in GT Line trim. This & the Allure trim version, will be the volume seller’s to business.
With a basic on the road price of £31,495, the GT Line offers customer’s plenty of standard stuff including ,Visio Park 1: 180° colour reversing camera & sensors, 18″ Diamond cut ‘Hirone’ alloy wheels, first in class frameless doors & a chequered radiator grille with chrome edge trim. Peugeot i-Cocpit cabin carried over from the 508 Fastback offers a pleasant driving environment. The 8″ infotainment screen sits proudly in the centre of the dash & is relatively easy to use. Underneath are the quick-step piano controls first seen on the 3008, which allow faster access to functions such as the SatNav, allowing the driver to keep their eyes on the road. I still don’t like the touch screen heating system featured on many cars & that includes the one in the 508 SW. Fiddly best describes this. However, by utilising the Voice Control button on the steering wheel, you can increase or decrease the temperature by half a degree, simply by asking “increase or decrease temperature.” Half a degree at a time though, can be time consuming.
As I’ve mentioned, Peugeot’s small steering wheel is included, which can be a Marmite affair. I personally love it, finding it makes the car feel, not necessarily be, more enjoyable to drive. The SW is comfortable too, with a typically French ride, that cossets you over bumps & undulating roads, even on the 19″ wheels on our test car. It handles nicely as well, feeling balanced & predictable in tight turns.
Our test route incorporated every type of road, from village speed bumps, to the M40 & the SW didn’t skip a beat. Talking of the motorway, once cruise control has been engaged, you simply sit back & enjoy the quiet cabin & comfortable seats as the excellent 1.5 diesel engine with 8-speed auto does the hard work for you.
When accelerating, this 130 version isn’t overly quick, with a 0-62mph time of 10.1 seconds, but it will go on to a top speed of 129mph. I ignored the short gearbox steering wheel mounted paddles which are offered on GT Line, as I always do, but my co-driver pointed out that they’re hard to reach.
For company car drivers, the diesel 508 SW still makes the most sense, with the auto we drove offering just 104g/km of C02 emissions & coming with a claimed combined fuel economy of 58.6 mpg. On our 2 hour all-roads test route, we managed to average 47.9 mpg without really trying. An extended motorway run should easily see this improve to 50mpg +.
As a caveat I also tried the more powerful 2.0 litre diesel auto in GT trim & whilst it offers a touch more gusto, especially in Sport Mode, than the 1.5 version, it doesn’t actually feel that much quicker, hitting 62mph in 8.4 seconds. It cost’s more as well, at £38,245 & with higher CO2 emissions of 125g/km & a combined economy of 50.6mpg, company car drivers would also pay more BIK too. We’d stick with the 1.5 auto version.
Kudos to Peugeot for launching an estate car. The success of the Peugeot 3008 hasn’t prevented them from introducing two new models into the saloon & estate sector’s, both of which are in a sales decline, within 12 months of each other. The confidence the brand has shown in it’s products shine’s through on the S. They’ve built an extremely attractive looking car fitted with a good choice of petrol & diesel engines. The SW is also well built, cleverly designed & also features all of the safety & entertainment tech That customers want & all at competitive price’s. And, it’s an estate car, so practical too !
Alongside Volvo’s V60, Peugeot’s 508 SW offers estate customers both good looks alongside function. It also gives those flirting with the usual German brands in the sector, something to think about. Choose the Peugeot & you won’t be disappointed.
Peugeot’s hit’s it’s stride 4/5.